When Americans think of prison, they think of it as a place where people are punished AFTER having been convicted either at a trial or after a guilty plea. The notion of someone being imprisoned and facing real prison conditions before a trial, and especially when there is serious question about someone's guilt seems, well, "un-American."
I hate to say it, but today, "un-American" means applying the standards of justice that are provided by the U.S. Constitution and our legal inheritance from the Rights of Englishmen that our colonial forebears gave us. Today, prosecutors and police have no obligation to follow the law, as the courts pretty much have told them that the law is whatever they want it to be.
My previous post -- including Kerwyn's comments -- lays out just a few real problems in the prosecution's case. In fact, the prosecution is so unsure that it even is presenting a truthful case that it has resorted to the "three bites of the apple" approach: continue to put Mr. Rasmussen on trial until he no longer can afford any defense counsel and is given a public defender, who then works hand-in-glove with his bosses (prosecutors, as in reality, public defenders might as well be employed by the prosecution) either to plead out his client or to present such an awful defense at trial that leads to a conviction.
As I see it, "three bites of the apple" is dishonest to the core and represents the worst that the state gives us in the administration of "justice." But it does not stop there.
Right now, Mr. Rasmussen is being held in solitary confinement at the Charles County jail. This is being done supposedly to "protect" him from other inmates, as "child molesters" always get "the treatment" from the regular prison body. (Keep in mind that "the treatment" is not possible unless the authorities work hand-in-glove with the inmates to make sure that a rape -- or worse -- occurs. The notion that jail or prison authorities are seeking to protect anyone but themselves is a very, very sick joke.)
So, Mr. Rasmussen is kept in his cell almost the entire day with no contact from anyone else. At last report, he had been in the same set of clothes for nearly a week with no opportunity to change.
Solitary confinement, or putting prisoners in "the hole," is a form of punishment, not protection. Charles County authorities know that their case is weak, that Det. Selkirk and Det. Austin have presented material that is questionable at the least and utterly dishonest at worst. They are aware of the huge discrepancies in the evidence, and much more (as Kerwyn and I will be presenting over the next several days).
So, as I see it, they are trying a new tactic: break the accused through a form of torture. Strip him of everything, give him a sense that there is no hope no matter how much he tells the truth, cut him off from everyone and everything, and then watch him utterly deteriorate.
This is reprehensible, but this is what is done in this country. It is ironic to hear Hillary Clinton lecturing others about freedom of speech and torture and all that, yet members of her own political party (Charles County is controlled by the Democratic Party) pretty much act as though they are Third World dictators.
(I will add that Republicans are not better, and that their "law-and-order" mantra is partly responsible for the deterioration of U.S. law. It seems that no Republican can run for office without declaring that he or she is "tough on crime," which really means that they are tough on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.)
The Charles County strategy is pretty obvious: break the prisoner. There is no case, the man is innocent, but the authorities want to win and they will win at all costs.
Because of the state of U.S. law today, torture is applied regularly by both people wearing the badges of Republican and Democrat. It is not a partisan thing; rather, it is what happens when justice becomes utterly politicized, and when those who are in charge of administering justice are not held accountable for their actions.